A Principal's Reflections

4 Question Types for Deeper Learning

A Principal's Reflections

There are many strategies out there that an educator can use to empower learners. Possibly one of the most powerful is questioning techniques. They comprise the core of any meaningful learning experience and are at the heart of virtually every type of pedagogical approach.

Efficacy-Based Practices

A Principal's Reflections

The pursuit of improvement is a never-ending journey. With all the disruption we have and will continue to see, changes to how we educate kids must be considered. We often see a great deal of investment in an array of ideas, strategies, and solutions with the goal of improving learning for all kids.

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Shifting Our Practice

A Principal's Reflections

In my previous post , I dove into the concept of shifting our focus from “what” to “who” in order to set the stage for personalization. The premise is as simple as it is powerful, with the goal being to provide all learners with what they need, when and where they need it, to become life ready.

Embracing an Evolved Thought Process

A Principal's Reflections

It is quite hard to keep up with all the exponential changes we are experiencing. Take technology for example. We get used to a device or app and before we know it there has been a huge update that alters the experience or it’s gone and replaced by something else.

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Don’t Use a Lot Where a Little Will Do

A Principal's Reflections

The title of this post is a well-known proverb that carries a great deal of weight during times of adversity, struggle, or uncertainty. I don’t know of a single person who really wants to take on more work, especially during a pandemic.

Supporting and Rewarding Teachers with Time

A Principal's Reflections

If it’s true that life is a test, then the COVID-19 pandemic represents the most challenging one education and everyone in the field has ever faced. The impacts are far and wide. Not a single person is unaffected, and everyone needs help in some form or another.

Change Begins with You

A Principal's Reflections

When we do things a certain way, we often become comfortable, especially if we are satisfied with the result. While this might seem perfectly fine on the surface, the truth is that progress can become stagnant.

Disrupting Your Practice

A Principal's Reflections

Last week I shared the news that Disruptive Thinking in Our Classrooms: Preparing Learners for Their Future was published a year ago. While I am proud of all the books that I have been honored to write, this one was a bit more special.

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Leading With a Swiss Army Knife Approach

A Principal's Reflections

How would one define great leadership? What are the characteristics of influential leaders? Each of these questions leads to various responses.

The 6 Dimensions of Disruptive Thinkers

A Principal's Reflections

What is really needed for success in the world today? I think this might be the million-dollar question. Even though it is difficult, if not impossible, to predict the future, we can examine current trends and societal forces to determine the competencies that learners need to thrive.

No Act of Kindness is a Wasted Effort

A Principal's Reflections

I fly a lot. Even during the heart of the pandemic, I was on the road coaching in numerous school districts as part of long-term projects. Now things are absolutely crazy but in a good way.

Upgrading the KWL Chart

A Principal's Reflections

There are many strategies at the disposal of a teacher to help students learn. The anticipatory set functions as a hook at the beginning of the lesson for motivation, while closure ties everything together.

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The Ever-Evolving Leadership Lens

A Principal's Reflections

Good leadership is, quite frankly, good leadership. The tenants have remained the same for centuries. What’s changed is the environment in which one leads, and this impacts the lens that is, or should be, used to drive change.

RTI and Personalization: A Dynamic Duo

A Principal's Reflections

Recently I was working with the leadership team at Moanalua Middle School (MMS) in Hawaii. One of the coaching topics that came up was how to improve the Response to Intervention (RTI) process as a means to support learners.

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Sparking Inquiry in the Classroom

A Principal's Reflections

As a kid, I loved nature. Growing up in a rural part of New Jersey and spending summers at the beach probably played a significant role in developing this interest. My parents would buy me and my brother all sorts of field guides to help support our curiosity and genuine interest in living creatures.

Unlocking the Potential of Students

A Principal's Reflections

What are you good at and why? I am sure a list of things comes to mind. Now think about how this list of items plays out in your daily life. We all have strengths, and a common reaction is to leverage these as much as possible. I see this a great deal in my work coaching leaders.

Blending with the Station Rotation Model

A Principal's Reflections

Blended learning is something that is near and dear to my heart. For me, the journey began back in 2011 when we first introduced the flipped approach at New Milford High School, where I was principal, with resounding success.

Model What You Expect

A Principal's Reflections

One of the most powerful teaching and leadership strategies is the act of modeling. It goes beyond just telling people what to do by instead showing them how to do it as a means to either support learning or change.

The Change Leader

A Principal's Reflections

Everyone seems to want change. While this, in essence, is a good thing, the reality is that many people don't want to actually go through the complex process. If this wasn't challenging enough, the individuals needed to lead it is even less.

Pedagogical Leadership

A Principal's Reflections

Leadership is leadership. The same essential qualities and characteristics that exemplify what great leaders do have pretty much stayed the same. What has changed are the tools, research, and societal shifts that impact the work.

What it Means to Be an Equitable Leader

A Principal's Reflections

So, what is the secret sauce when it comes to effective leadership? This is a tricky question to answer as there is no definitive right way to lead and no shortage of advice available that you can weed through.

Virtual Learning Done Right

A Principal's Reflections

Through adversity, we rise to the occasion. So many important lessons were learned during the pandemic that can be used to not only improve our practice but also to pave the way for a brighter future.

A Systematic Approach to Social and Emotional Support

A Principal's Reflections

It goes without saying that the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on youth across the world. While learning recovery remains a needed area of focus, virtually every educator I come in contact with explains that students are a year or two behind socially.

Trust is a Leader's Best Friend

A Principal's Reflections

When I began the journey to become a school administrator many years ago, I took the typical courses that were required. These focused on topics such as school law, instructional leadership, change management, school finance, and curriculum development, among many others.

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Curiosity: The Ultimate Learning Trigger

A Principal's Reflections

When I reflect on my childhood there were numerous profound experiences that impacted my trajectory. I still vividly remember spending my summers in Ocean City, NJ where one set of my grandparents resided. To this day there is just something magical about the beach.

Disruptive Thinking: Making it a Reality

A Principal's Reflections

It has been a wild and bumpy ride during the pandemic, but through it all, we have witnessed firsthand the resilience of educators across the world.

A Literate Learner

A Principal's Reflections

A great deal has changed since I was in school. I vividly remember getting a TANDY laptop from my parents when I graduated high school. It was a considerable upgrade from the Apple IIe that we all shared in the guest room.

Level Up Your Leadership

A Principal's Reflections

Like most kids, past, and present, I loved playing video games. During my very early years, Atari was the best and only option. My parents eventually bought an Apple IIe where we needed to use floppy disks to load any meaningful content, which added to our gaming experience.

How to Make Learning Stick

A Principal's Reflections

It is no secret how we retain information, construct new knowledge, and develop competencies critical for success in the world of work and, more importantly, life.

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Setting the Stage for Current and Future Learner Success

A Principal's Reflections

The traditional goal of any education system is to prepare students for either college or careers. Over the years, I would say that while this view still holds value, the context has changed dramatically.

Strength in Vulnerability

A Principal's Reflections

“ Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center, of meaningful human experiences.” - Brené Brown Change is hard. It is even more challenging to sustain. While there are many obstacles to individual or system growth, fear and comfort tend to lead the pack.

The Power of Collaboration

A Principal's Reflections

There is nothing more gratifying, in my opinion than watching people work together to achieve a common goal.

Using Feedback to Create a Culture of Excellence

A Principal's Reflections

Growth is a huge component of the change process. In order for each of us to pave a path for success, there must be feedback along the way.

Evolving Instruction in a Rapidly Changing World

A Principal's Reflections

We all first learned of idioms probably during the middle school years in English class. There are so many out there, such as “it’s raining cats and dogs,” “you hit the nail on the head,” and “there are bigger fish to fry.”

5 Ways to Unleash Your Leadership Potential

A Principal's Reflections

Leading is not easy. I am a believer that leaders are not born but instead develop over time based on both the environment and learned experiences. No matter where you are on your journey, there is the opportunity to grow and evolve. Your potential is not set in stone.

Differentiating in the Personalized Classroom

A Principal's Reflections

I love visiting classrooms around the country to not only support but to see educators in action. In my opinion, I learn just as much, if not more, from them as they hopefully do from me.

Hitting Curveballs

A Principal's Reflections

If only everything could be simple. Life is anything but an easy journey. While this, for the most part, has been manageable in the past, the pandemic has upended professional and personal lives. Just when there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, a new variant materializes.

Tips for an Abrupt Shift to Remote or Hybrid Learning

A Principal's Reflections

The other day I was with one of my partner districts as part of ongoing longitudinal work that will last at least two years.

Four Practical Ways to Blend

A Principal's Reflections

When it comes to blended learning, it is essential first to have an underlying understanding as to why this pedagogical strategy is valuable in the classroom. Let’s take a step back before diving into the nuts and bolts.

Experience Can Be the Best Teacher

A Principal's Reflections

The earliest known version of the proverb that serves as the title for this post is attributed to Julius Caesar. You might have noticed that I tweaked it a little bit by replacing “is” with “can” to prove a point in a little bit.

A Message to School Leaders

A Principal's Reflections

A great deal has been written on the heroic efforts of teachers during the pandemic. I, for one, have penned my fair share of posts that highlight the exceptional work they have and continue to do under extraordinarily challenging conditions.

Digitally-Enhanced Exit Tickets

A Principal's Reflections

I love coaching as it provides a lens to see how teachers and administrators act on feedback to grow and improve. It also provides evidence that strategies aligned to research and sound instructional design are implemented in practical ways.

8 Elements of Effective Coaching

A Principal's Reflections

I absolutely love coaching educators in small groups. During these sessions, I get to see firsthand how they are implementing ideas and strategies into practice to grow.